By Victoria Ojeme
A group, on the platform of Migration Enlightenment Project Nigeria, MEPN, has raised the alarm that over 700 Nigerians died in the Mediterranean Sea while migrating illegally in the last six months.
The Director MEPN, Femi Awoniyi, who made this known while addressing newsmen in Abuja, weekend, said the figure is low, compared to those who died while trying to cross the Sahara Desert.
While disclosing that Nigerians constitute the highest number of illegal migrants from Africa, he lamented that Nigerians have the highest rate of rejection among sub-Sahara asylum applicants in the European Union, EU.
According to him, MEPN was poised to raising awareness on the risks and dangers of irregular migration, and dispelling the misconception that they were better job opportunities outside the shores of Nigeria.
According to him, “this year alone, more than 1,500 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, many of them Nigerians.
“This is not even counting those who have died travelling through the Sahara Desert, or in the transit countries.
“Everybody knows that more than half of Saharan migrants in Africa are Nigerians. We cannot count the number of people who die in the Sahara Desert. Experts say more people die in the Sahara Desert than the Mediterranean.
“For those who are lucky to reach Europe, a difficult struggle to obtain legal residency begins. More than 30,000 Nigerians are currently awaiting deportation in Germany alone.
“Their asylum claims have been rejected since Nigeria is not considered by the European Union as a country where there is political persecution.”